How is Servant Leadership Relevant?

Suppose you are a great technician and you decide to start your own company (which is what I did). Or maybe you bought a company or recently became a leader within the company you work for.

Regardless of whether you have a business management degree or just a high-school diploma ‘ you are now a leader. It is up to you to become the type of leader you desire to be. Many times you have to try each of the three types of leadership before you decide which fits you best.

Skills Inventory List

To become a servant leader, the first step is to take a serious inventory of your current leadership skills. Be honest when you evaluate what you are good at and what needs work. Think about the following:

1. Are you organized?
2. Do you have a passion for excellence and a desire to learn the truth?
3. Do you have the skills needed to lead in all areas of the business?
4. Are you willing to listen to others who may have more experience?
5. Are you willing to change paths if you find you are wrong?
6. Do you ask others to do something you would not do?
7. Are you willing to be mentored either in person or with study?

My journey toward being a servant leader

These seven questions are just a few in an inventory that will help guide you towards servant leadership. When you are willing to make this assessment and work to strengthen your weaknesses, then I believe you can begin a journey toward becoming a servant leader.

My Journey

In 1988 I decided to start my own HVAC and plumbing company. At first, I operated as one man in a truck to repair systems and plumb houses. I really had no plans to grow the business. I was just trying to make a living.

When it came time to hire employees, I thought about all the employers I had worked for. I decided I wanted to be better than they were.

Having witnessed how other contractors and businesses operated and treated both customers and employees made me want to have a company that people could depend on and one that made their lives better because we were there. That is what influenced me to learn about servant leadership.

We are all influenced by our surroundings and while I was trained as a union plumber and pipefitter with all the benefits that came with that, I was in an area where many employers provided no benefits for their employees. Most contractors paid as little as possible. Their work and production reflected that.

It was difficult to break out of that thought process. Since I was employed with health insurance and a retirement plan, I wanted to do the same for my employees. So, I took the time to learn how to do this and though it took several years to establish health insurance and 401K plans, I did make that happen. I also wanted to provide customer service that did not leave the door open for contractors from other towns to compete in my small area.

Both goals took long-term planning and commitment to put into operation. But the reward was great. We could hire employees who needed health insurance and who desired to work for a company that had their interests at heart. I believe they will return the favor. If they don’t, then it is time to exercise leadership and remove their bad attitude from your company.

This desire to provide exemplary service has led to market expansion out of our area. We now operate as far as 200 miles away. That built our reputation and eventually led to me being called in as a local expert for customers trying to get a handle on their mechanical systems.

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